What Do You Lose When You Lose Your Language? Do You Lose When You Lose Your Language? 1 ... I have never felt so. Now sometimes ... I owe something to it for what it has given me — love and ...
Stabilizing Indigenous Languages71What Do You LoseWhen You Lose Your Language?1Joshua FishmanThe first paper that I wrote in 1948 on native languages had to do with whatis the impact of bilingualism on students. There were still parents then who wereconcerned that if their children learned another language it would ruin theirEnglish accent. If you would hear the tones of another languages every timethey spoke English, how would they get a job and what would people think ofthem? Today, forty-five years later, we are still not home at convincing publicopinion and the authorities that it is worth having all the languages we havetoday. Therefore, I want to start with this question, What is lost when a lan-guage is lost? It is amazing how people are uncomfortable about answeringthat question. I remember my mother always telling me, When you start off atalk, make sure people know what the question is and ask a good question. Agood question is worth everything. And I would say to her, Ma, you know,Americans, they start off a conference with a joke. You have to tell a joke forpeople to know that youre about to speak? She said, Jokes? Ask a good ques-tion That is an old Jewish tradition, if you have a good question, you havesomething worthwhile to worry about.Attitudes toward language-loss depend on your perspective. When a lan-guage is lost, you might look at that from the perspective of the individual.Many individuals suppressed their language and paid the price for it in one wayor another that remaining, fumbling insecurity when you are not quite surewhether you have the metaphor right in the expression that you are going to useand you know the one that comes to mind is not from the language that you arespeaking at the moment. So, there is an individual price, in every sense.You can also speak from the point of view of the culture lost. The culturehas lost its language. What is lost when the culture is so dislocated that it losesthe language which is traditionally associated with it? That is a serious issue forNative Americans. We can ask it from the national point of view. What is lost bythe country when the country loses its languages? We have had this very hap-hazard linguistic book-keeping where you pretend nothing is lost except thelanguage. It is just a little language. But, after all, a country is just the sum of allof its creative potential. What does the country lose when it loses individualswho are comfortable with themselves, cultures that are authentic to themselves,the capacity to pursue sensitivity, wisdom, and some kind of recognition thatone has a purpose in life? What is lost to a country that encourages people tolose their direction in life?Today, I would like to just talk about language loss from only one of theseperspectives, the perspective of the culture. Because losing your language is,1This paper is adapted from the speech given by Dr. Fishman at the first StabilizingIndigenous Languages symposium on November 16, 1994.Stabilizing Indigenous Languages72technically, an issue in the relationship between language and culture. What isthe relationship between language and culture? Is it like the relationship of myhandkerchief and my trousers: you can take it out and throw it away and putanother handkerchief in? Or is there some kind of more substantive relationshipbetween a language and culture? Even there, there are various perspectives. Thereis an outsider, often disciplinary, perspective as we anthropologists and lin-guists sit and think about it. When we consider the relationship between lan-guage and culture, it occurs to us as outsiders, not being members of those cul-tures, what the relationship might be and then we try to gather insightful com-ments, even from the outside. There is a kind of lexical or, I would say, an in-dexical relationship between language and culture. A language long associatedwith the culture is best able to express most easily, most exactly, most richly,with more appropriate over-tones, the concerns, artifacts, values, and interestsof that culture. That is an important characteristic of the relationship betweenlanguage and culture, the indexical relationship.It is not a perfect relationship. Every language grows; every culture changes.Some words hang on after they are no longer culturally active. Little MissMuffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey. Well, who knows what a tuffetis any more, and you can not find anybody who knows what curds and whey areany more without doing research. Those are frozen traces. Even if there is oftena good relationship between the words of the language and the concerns of theculture, there are more important relationships between language and culturethan the indexical one.The most important relationship between language and culture that gets tothe heart of what is lost when you lose a language is that most of the culture is inthe language and is expressed in the language. Take it away from the culture,and you take away its greetings, its curses, its praises, its laws, its literature, itssongs, its riddles, its proverbs, its cures, its wisdom, its prayers. The culturecould not be expressed and handed on in any other way. What would be left?When you are talking about the language, most of what you are talking about isthe culture. That is, you are losing all those things that essentially are the way oflife, the way of thought, the way of valuing, and the human reality that you aretalking about.There is another deep relationship between language and culture, the sym-bolic relationship. That is, the language stands for that whole culture. It repre-sents it in the minds of the speakers and the minds of outsiders. It just stands forit and sums it up for them the whole economy, religion, health care system,philosophy, all of that together is represented by the language. And, therefore,any time when we are at outs with some other culture, we begin to say snidethings about the language. Oh, it sounds so harsh. And it sounds so cruelbecause we think its speakers are cruel or it sounds so poor or it sounds soprimitive because we think they are primitive. The language symbolizes for usthe whole relationship.Actually I do not care much for this presentation of the outside view that Ihave made to you. It is a highly intellectualized abstraction. If you talk to peopleStabilizing Indigenous Languages73about what the language means to them, if you talk to members of the culture,they do not mention indexicality. They do not say anything about its symbolismfor the whole ball of wax. They talk in totally different terms. And this tells youwhat they think they lose. They tell you some things about the sanctity of thelanguage. Sanctity is not a little thing to throw around. At least, I have never feltso. Now sometimes you do not exactly mean holy holy, holy, holy. But nev-ertheless, when people tell you that there is a cultural view of how that languagecame about, that it came to be when the earth was created, when the worlds werecreated, when heaven and earth was created, when humanity was created, theyare giving you what you might think of as a myth, but the importance of it isbeyond its truth value. That is actually the definition of a myth somethingthat is so important that you hold on to it because it has an importance beyond itstruth. They may have the view that it was created before the creation of theworld, as white fire or black fire. Every time the Lord spoke out, it came out aswhite fire or black fire in their own ethnocultural letters. That may sound ridicu-lous to you, but it is a sense of sanctity. People tell you things like that; ordinarypeople in ordinary Native American groups will tell you things like that. Theywill tell you things that have to do with the great Creator. They will tell youabout the morality that is in the language. Morality is, after all, just sanctity inoperation. The things you have to do to be good, to be a member in good stand-ing, to meet your commitments to the creator. Some languages that are holy inthemselves, and other languages have brought holy thoughts and holy dictumsand holy commandments. People tell you metaphors of holiness. This is themost common thing, the most common expression of holiness that people tellyou about their language. And that means they are going to lose the metaphorabout the language being the soul of the people The language being the mind ofthe people. The language being the spirit of the people. Those are just meta-phors, but they are not innocent metaphors. There is something deeply holyimplied, thereby, and that is what would be lost. That sense of a holy, a compo-nent of holiness that pervades peoples life the way the culture pervades theirlife, through the language.Another dimension of what people tell you about when they tell you aboutlanguage and culture is why they like their language, why they say it is impor-tant to them. They tell you about kinship. They tell you that their mother spokethe language to them, their father spoke the language, their brothers, the sisters,the uncles, the aunts, the whole community. All the ones who loved them spokethe language to them when they were children. Just before their mother died shespoke the language to them. All the endearments, all the nurturing, that is kin-ship is tied into a living organism of a community by people who know eachother, and they know they belong together. That is what the old sociologists callgemeinschaft. We belong together. We have something in common. We aretied to each other through the language. That precious sense of community is nota thing to lose just as is the sense of holiness. Woe to the people who have lostthe sense of holiness, where nothing matters, and woe to the people who havelost a commitment one to the other. And that is what people tell you about whenStabilizing Indigenous Languages74they tell you about their language, and that is neither the anthropological norany other exterior view of the relationship between language and culture. It isnot an intellectualization, because it is so emotionally suffused and focused onthe internal experience.Another thing people tell you about their language is that they have a senseof responsibility for it. They should do something for it. That is a rarer, but notaltogether rare, aspect of what people tell you about their language. I should dosomething. I should do more for it. I havent done the right thing by it. Im gladIm working for it, as if there were a kind of a moral commitment here and amoral imperative. It is a value. It is kinship-related. And, if I am a decent person,I owe something to it for what it has given me love and nurturance, connec-tion.These three things taken together, this sense of sanctity, this sense of kin-ship, and this sense of moral imperative, are not a bad componential analysis ofpositive ethnolinguistic consciousness. People are positively conscious of theirlanguage, without having taken a course in linguistics to spoil it for them, tointellectualize it for them. When they are positively ethnolinguistically conscious,they tell you deeply meaningful things to them. That is what they would lose ifthey lost the language. They would lose a member of the family, an article offaith, and a commitment in life. Those are not little things for people to lose orfor a culture to lose.And so, therefore, it is no surprise that the generalized topic of this confer-ence, reversing language shift or stabilizing indigenous languages, repre-sents an ideal for literally millions of people on all continents. That is a goodthing to realize. Small Native American communities might think that they arethe only ones out there in the cold that have to worry about this. That is not so.There are millions upon millions of people around the world that are workingfor their language on all continents. In Europe, Irish, Basque, Catalan, and Frisian,just to name obvious cases, are threatened.I remember when I was in Egypt, a Copt coming up to me and, realizingwhat I was interested in (people have to feel you are sympathetic before they tellyou deeply painful things), told me how they were working on reviving Copticand had made little books for their children in Coptic. He wondered if I wantedto see them. Coptic has not been spoken vernacularly for thousands of years andthey were trying to revive it. I also had conversations recently with Afrikaansspeakers. Now that South Africa has set apartheid aside, the language most likelyto suffer is Afrikaans. English is going to be the link language. Nine or ten otherAfrican languages are going to be declared as national languages. The languagethat will probably come out holding the short end of the stick is the language ofthe previous regime, the language that has a symbolic association with apart-heid. That is not the only symbolic association you should have with it; how-ever, Afrikaans is already losing status at all levels.In Asia and the Pacific those aboriginal and Australian languages that havesurvived are now having much rescue work being done on them. One ex-ample is Maori, an indigenous language of New Zealand. I recently met with aStabilizing Indigenous Languages75visitor from there who told me that there are now six hundred schools of a nurs-ery-kindergarten, child-care nature to get children who are not Maori-speakingto be taken care of day after day by Maori-speaking older folks. There are nowan increasing number of elementary schools where they are continuing Maorilanguage instruction.So on every inhabited continent, not just immigrant North America, peopleshare concerns over indigenous languages. You can meet with representatives ofthe Greek church and of the Armenian church in the United States, and they willtell you about their efforts. They ask Can you be Greek Orthodox without know-ing Greek? To them this is an American aberration; it never happened before inGreek history. Can you be Armenian Orthodox without knowing Armenian?Armenians have a saint associated with their language. That is how holy theyfeel Armenian is. The alphabet is of saintly, sanctified origin. But in America thequestion has arisen Can you be Armenian without the language? Spanish, whichis a colonial language, has had much language loss associated with it, particu-larly in New York City. There is now an inter-generational study that confirmsit, following up the same people and their children. Can you be Hispanic with-out speaking Spanish? It is a new question to ask, and the truth is that every-body now has a nephew or a niece who does not speak any Spanish. Somethingis felt to be deeply wrong there, and the sense of loss is very deep.So members of indigenous language communities wanting to revive lan-guages, wanting to strengthen languages, wanting to further languages, are ingood company. They are in the company of many people who have tried veryhard to do somewhat similar and sometimes very similar things, and there aresome successes to talk about, although on the whole, relatively speaking, it isnot a good business to be in. It is never good, my mother told me, to be poor andold and sick. And it is never good to be a member of a small, weak, and eco-nomically poor culture. But we really cannot pick our mothers, and we cannotpick our cultures. If you work for your culture, you have a sense of gratificationthat is at least a partial compensation. And this is being done to such an extent allover the world that I think it is high time we got together to share experiences, toshare failures, because it is important to know about failures and to share suc-cesses. The successes keep us from burning out. And it is important to know thefailures because if you do not know the failures then you repeat them. If you donot know that something has been tried time and time again and has not workedout, then you do it yourself because you do not know it has failed and it soundsgood to you. There are a number of reasons I think it is important for us to startout realizing that language restoration is, at best, a very hard job.There are many reasons why there are so many more failures than successesin stabilizing weak languages. First of all, whenever a weak culture is in compe-tition with a strong culture, it is an unfair match. The odds are not encouragingfor the weak. They never are. Whatever mistakes are made, there is not enoughmargin for error to recover from them. It is like a poor man investing on thestock market. If you do not hit it off, you do not have anything to fall back on.Small weak cultures, surrounded by dominant cultures, dependent on a domi-Stabilizing Indigenous Languages76nant culture, and dislocated by those very cultures, and yet needing those cul-tures, are not to be envied. They have undertaken to resist the biggest thingaround, and frequently, they begin to do so when it is too late.There is a kind of resistance to the very idea that something is happening totheir language. Oh, itll pick up. Oh, it happened before. Oh, the younger gen-eration will come around. When they get older, theyll start talking it. Doing ittoo late, can be too late in several ways. First of all, it can be too late biologi-cally. That is, sometimes cultures catch on to that something should be donewhen there are no longer people around of child-bearing age. The older peoplearound may even be talking the language, and enjoying it, and joking in it, tell-ing stories in it, and doing all the traditional things in it, but they are not likely tohave any more children. In terms of a kind of self-sustaining, inter-generationallink, it is now too late for the usual things. You might still try something, but it islike freezing an embryo and then trying to bring it back a hundred years later.There are some unusual things one can still try to do for a language that nolonger has a natural generational flow, but, in most cases, it is too late becausethose unusual things are really very unusual and really hard to do.It is usually too late ideologically or, if you like, culturally, by then, becausea new modus vivendi has been worked out. When languages die, people do notstop talking. Cultures do not fold up and silently steal off into the night. They goon and they talk the new language. They go on in the other language; they workout a new relationship between language and culture. The relationship is detach-able; it is dislocated; it takes a lot of time; and it takes a lot of doing to once morehave a traditionally associated language, having once lost one. Meanwhile, youhave another language that has already entered the tent. People have said, Well,we can be, whatever, Chippewa, Seneca, Blackfoot, whatever, we can be it inEnglish. That is another language-culture relationship, and, because of that newrelationship, it becomes very difficult to bring back and to strengthen the oldlanguage, which is already undergoing so many stresses.Another reason why language restoration is relatively unsuccessful, withall the commitment that I have mentioned to you, despite all the sense of holi-ness, despite all the sense of kinship, despite all the sense of commitment, isbecause people do not know what to do. It is like fighting a disease withouthaving an idea of what to do. People generally do not understand the differencebetween, for example, mother tongue acquisition, mother tongue use, and mothertongue transmission. They are not the same thing. So, they frequently settle foracquiring the language not as a mother tongue, but during the school experi-ence. By then it is not the mother tongue, because they already have anothermother tongue. And schools are not inter-generational language transmissionagencies. Schools just last a certain number of hours and a certain number ofyears and then, after that, they are over. How is the language learned there goingto be transmitted to the next generation? So because of this confusion, havingdevoted a number of hours per week, per year, at school for a certain number ofyears, people frequently conclude, because the children are bright and pick uplanguage, that they have done their bit.Stabilizing Indigenous Languages77But they have not started a system going that is self-renewing, which isself-replenishing because after school there are many years until that child hashis or her children and could pass the language on. That is really a terribly im-portant issue, to realize that the school itself is not going to transmit it to the nextgeneration because the society has not set up a transmission mechanism thatpicks up after school. School is a wonderful agency, and a crucial agency forparticular aspects of language use, like literacy, versatility, or formality. But thatis neither acquisition of the mother tongue nor transmission of the mother tongue.Finally, not knowing what to do and not having things like this clarified forthem, people start altering all kinds of things simultaneously and that is about asdesirable as taking all kinds of medicines simultaneously because you might hitupon one that might help you. But think about all the other things that are goingon there that are expensive to do, which are disappointing when they do notwork out.So what to do is really a terribly important issue and what to do when is avery important issue. For example, you might have someone suggest,Listen, the most important newspaper in this country is The NewYork Times. Why do not we take out full-page ads in Navajo in TheNew York Times and that will show everybody that weve got a verydecent language here. That should really clinch it. We are always usingtheir language. Let them see our language when they open up theirnewspaper.Well, it is just not the right thing to do. It is not a productive thing to do.The most productive thing to do really depends on the stage that you areat.1 Or the nature of the impairment or, if you like, the nature of the threat or theseriousness of the danger. Is the problem, for example, which is currently worri-some, that the mother tongue does not have recognition in the inter-ethnic worksphere? That is a problem among the Pennsylvania German (Pennsylvania Dutch)today. There is no more land to buy in Lancaster County. A good proportion ofthe youngsters marry and must go off to Kansas or some other place where thereis still land, or they go to work in some factory in town. When they work at thefactory in town, since they all know English anyway, they talk English to eachother, not only to others working in the factory, and the elders are very con-cerned.If that is the problem with the language, then you are in a certain stage ofdislocation that is not very far from the transmission stage. Everybody may stillbe acquiring the language in the orthodox community as their mother tongueand using it in their regular services, but of the maybe four to five thousandlanguages in the world, the majority are not being used in the inter-ethnic workforce. The majority even of those that are hale and hearty, so you have to see thatproblem in perspective.1For a discussion of these stages see my book Reversing Language Shift (MultilingualMatters, 1991).Stabilizing Indigenous Languages78Is the problem that the mother tongue is neither used in the school nor inclassroom education nor in literacy? Well, that is a more serious problem be-cause literacy provides a community or it creates access to communication acrosstime and space. It creates a community over time and space. We can talk topeople who are no longer alive through literacy. We can talk to people not yetalive and far, far away through literacy. There is also a prestige factor when non-literate languages are in touch with literate languages, and the school is the lit-eracy-conveying agency of this era. It was not always; it was not everywhere,but again I would like to assure you that most of the healthy languages of thisworld today are not (or not strongly) related to literacy and are not consideredexceptionally school-worthy. That does not mean it is no problem because maybeit is a problem wherever you are. It definitely means there is support for acquir-ing literacy in some other language and that means you have got to be able tobear the strain between the language of literacy and the language of home, inti-macy, love, and sanctity. You have to be able to bear that strain, that this onelanguage, which is not yours, is the one of literacy and that one, which is yours,is not the language of literacy.It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain minority languages whenthe print and non-print media are impinging on them more than ever before. Ifthe lack of literacy in your language is a particular weakening factor, then lit-eracy must be developed in your language. But it will not be transmitted to thenext generation automatically. The funny thing about literacy, even in languagesof great literacy, is that every generation starts off with zero literacy. Even thoughtheir parents are literate. I know there are two percent of parents who come fromHarvard graduate schools, whose children start off literate even before kinder-garten, but that is not yet a wide-spread phenomenon. Every generation as a rulestarts off illiterate and has to be made literate from ground zero. That is not theway mother tongues work. Mother tongues are self-sustaining and a new gen-eration does not wait until it goes to school to get its mother tongue. It usuallygets its mother tongue at home in the community, in the neighborhood, amongthe loved ones the ones shaping the identity of the child. And if that is whatyour language lacks, then that is a very serious problem indeed if you want tohand it on to another generation as a vernacular. But something can still be doneabout that. I would say even when there are no more speakers of child-bearingage, when there are no more fluent speakers, something can still be done, but Idoubt whether a full-page ad in The New York Times is exactly what to do at anyparticular time.Let us turn our attention to different kinds of things that could be tried.Some of the things that could be tried, some of the things that should be avoided.For example, do not start too high. That is The New York Times start. Do not startthere. Do not start too far away, if you are interested in the mother tongue beingself-sustaining. Do not start too far away from things that have to do with home,family, and community on an inter-generational basis. That is where a mothertongue or vernacular is handed on. Particularly do not start too far away if youare weak and your language is about to crumble because it might crumble inStabilizing Indigenous Languages79another generation while you were paying attention to full page ads in The NewYork Times.When Hebrew was being revived a very unlikely success story it hadnot been spoken in two thousand years, and those who knew the language bestwere opposed to its vernacular use. It was revived through terminologies, firstby working out terminologies for carpentry and for kindergarten. Very close towhat you need to have for every day, what adults needed every day and whatteachers needed every day with those new children who were going to be thefirst children to be given the language very early, but not by their parents be-cause their parents did not speak it. Rather by the few teachers who had learnedto speak it. They were the ones to whom the children were entrusted. Childrendid not live with their parents. They lived in the childrens home in a kibbutzwith those teachers, the few teachers who had forced themselves to learn how tospeak it, not naturally but fluently. They needed a vocabulary for kindergarten,and the parents needed a vocabulary for carpentry. So, start low. Start exactlywhere the mother tongue starts and try to aim at that. Even the school can helpyou aim at that. Another bit of advice is, do not concentrate along institutionallines. Most languages are not institutional, but informal and spontaneous. Thatis where language lives. Children live; they play; they laugh; they fall; theyargue; they jump; they want; they scream.When the illegal Basque schools were working under the Franco regime,they became underground schools. It was prohibited to speak Basque in publicbecause the Basques had resisted Franco, the Fascist dictator, and had resistedhim bitterly until the end. Franco got even with them. They were arrested; theywere punished; they were killed; they were shot; and their language was out-lawed and was laughed off the stage as vulgar, barbarous, barbaric, uncouth, andanimalistic. So they had to run primary schools and pre-schools centered aroundresistance. They provided nursery and child care when you started school, andthey provided health care for people who were afraid to visit the doctor. Becauseof their Basque nationalist association, doctors were afraid to treat them.They did not institutionalizing Basque on a narrow basis. Quite the con-trary, the school was a haven in the society, an underground parallel society. Theschools were creating their own cultural space. Creating cultural space is veryimportant for a language if it is to become competitive within its own culture.I remember when the psychologist John MacNamara told a story about hav-ing studied Irish all his childhood in school. He was scolded one day by the ladywho ran a candy store. He had just bought the candy from her and began talkingEnglish to his sister. You have learned Irish all your life. How come yourespeaking English? You should be talking Irish to your little sister. Later, out onthe street, the sister asked him, Is Irish really for talking? That really did hap-pen. It had not occurred to them that Irish was for talking. It was a school subjectlike geography and arithmetic. How many people go down the street talkinggeography or arithmetic? So a real not institutional social space has to becreated for the language. And in the revivalist movement that Irish went through,they tried to create that space. A young adult community, a sports community, aStabilizing Indigenous Languages80language community for young people. All-Irish, mainly Irish, and partly Irishschools were recognized by the government, but not really very sympatheticallyrecognized. It was a kind of tokenism. The school has to go beyond the token-ism. We must know enough to beware of tokenism. The Romansh and Friulianshave an exchange program between their respective districts, all over those littlevalleys where they may live just a couple of miles apart but will never see eachother. They send tapes to each other, so they are communicating. They sendgames to each other and not only that, they send games and tapes and videoshome from school as family home work. Something for the family to do to-gether, and the whole family listens to the tapes. They stay in touch that waywith folks that they are not going to see as flesh and blood, talking to them andplaying with them.Creating community is the hardest part of stabilizing a language. Lack offull success is acceptable, and full successes are rare. Now that Hebrew is sowell-established and vernacularized, the minister of education of Israel recentlytried to open some English schools. He was attacked and raked over the coalsfor his efforts because some advocates of Hebrew still feel insecure. So thesense that the Hebrew language is safe has still not arrived in Israel, even thoughobjectively it is safe. Emotional safety comes a lot later. The Franco-Canadiansin Quebec are also not sure they are successful yet. They think they are suffer-ing. The Catalans are not sure they are successful. A culture has been trauma-tized a long time, but it came back. So even in your lack of full success, dedi-cated language workers, whether they be Maoris, Bretons, or whatever, becomecommitted to each other and therefore they are members of the community ofbelief.In conclusion I want to tell you something about my grandchildren. Mywife engages in laptop publishing. She publishes in the Yiddish language for ourgrandchildren. But let me tell you, the true lap top here is my lap and her lap andthe laps of the childrens mother and father. That is a bond with the language thatwill stay with them after we are long gone. That is the lap top of language. Andif you want that language revived, you have to use your lap also with your chil-dren or your grandchildren or somebody elses children or grandchildren. Adopta grandchild. Adopt the grandparents. It is your lap that is part of the link tosanctity, the link to kinship, and the link to purpose. Now, in our affluent Ameri-can society it turns out that one of my grandchildren already has an e-mail ac-count. He writes messages to me to give to one of his cousins on the other coast.I go from coast to coast throughout the year because I have grandchildren oneach coast. I have got to be sure that they sit on my lap during the year. So hewrites to his cousin on the other coast on e-mail. He has to transliterate theYiddish language into Roman characters because e-mail only works in Romancharacters, and he makes a lot of mistakes in that. But it is recognizable. He isonly seven, and the last e-mail I received was a little note saying, I have got alittle mechanical bird. It speaks Yiddish. Ha, ha. Thats a joke.So there are family building, there are culture building, and there are inti-macy building prerequisites for language fostering, things that you have to doStabilizing Indigenous Languages81because no school is going to do them. However, the school can put that on theagenda of what has to be done. The school has intellectuals in it. The school hasa building, a budget, a time, and a place. Now it has to put the life of the lan-guage, not just the literacy of the language, not just the grammar of the lan-guage, not just the lexicon of the language, but the life of the language in thehome and the community on its agenda if the language is going to be passedalong.Reversing language shift is a research field, it is an applied field, it is acultural values field, it has new horizons, there are new things to do, things thatare, if you like, differently focused than the ordinary school has been. And re-versing language shift asks, What happens with the mother tongue before school,in school, out of school, and after school? so that it can be passed on from onegeneration to another. I started with a good question and I am ending with agood question and that is the question. What are you going to do with the mothertongue before school, in school, out of school, and after school? Because thatdetermines its fate, whether it is going to become self-renewing. That is myquestion for you, no joke!